8Fold/Acra: Haunted Man #2 "Condemned" and "The Hemophile"

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 22 20:19:06 PDT 2007

On Oct 22, 12:53 pm, Jamie Rosen <jamie.ro... at sunlife.com> wrote:

> While I appreciate a good comeuppance story (and I've written and sold
> one or two), I find lately that my worldview and thus my fiction has
> been leaning more and more towards a world where the best we can
> manage is only a fleeting glimpse at understanding.

Which is perfectly aligned with the best horror fiction. :-)

> That being said, despite its nightmarish qualities, I think
> "Condemned" really is a tale of a bad man getting his comeuppance --
> it's just one that is told obliquely, rather than directly.

Very true.  And it's this obliqueness that makes the story special,
and ultimately gives it its peculiar impact.  It's the fact that the
story doesn't follow the *structure* of a morality tale-- bad deed,
ill-gotten gains, punishment-- but instead begins in media res,
chronicling the punishment and taking sideways glimpses at the bad
deed that necessitates that punishment, that it does not satisfy in
the way that a morality tale does.  And by not providing that brand of
satisfaction, it opens the door to all sorts of icky feelings, which
allows the story to stay with you afterwards, haunting your dreams in
a way the typical comeuppance narrative never, ever would.

> > Consider this sentence:
> > > His entire body hurt: joints ached,
> > > muscles cramped and stiffened from having lain in so awkward a
> > > position.
> I suppose I should technically have used a semi-colon, not a comma,
> between "ached" and "muscles". But a lot of the time when I'm writing
> a story like this I'm writing it with a very definite voice in my
> head, and I sometimes structure sentences based on how they sound in
> that voice.

Well, I think that in this particular case that "voice" served you
well, as the odd candence of the sentence lends the proceedings a
flavour of disorientation.  A more rhythmically pleasing sentence
would have been less disturbing and thus less effective.


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